The Louisville football team spent part of their Sunday run.
It’s one of the consequences Cardinals head coach Scott Satterfield imagined for the team that racked up more yards on penalties (81) than any fumble in receiving yards against Florida State. last Friday night. Ahmari Huggins-Bruce led the unit with 61 yards on three catches.
The team’s 11 penalties in the 35-31 loss to Florida State bring it to 30 on the year, tied for 125e in the country with Cincinnati. Only four teams have racked up more penalties: winless Georgia State and undefeated Maryland (31 each), 1-3 Charlotte (32) and 1-2 Houston (33).
The Cardinals take an average of 10 penalties per game, or 126e nationally, for a total of 229 penalty yards (110e) and averaged 76.3 yards per outing (116e). If U of L is to turn its season around, it will partly have to eliminate those mistakes, starting against South Florida in the Week 4 game at noon on Saturday.
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“We talk about it: being disciplined and focused, (knowing) exactly what’s going on,” Satterfield said. “All you can do is keep pushing on it and hope we get better. It’s definitely something we’ve been talking about all summer.
It’s not just that the U of L commits penalties, but the errors come at crucial moments in games. The Cardinals pushed Florida State to third-and-14 on the Louisville 30-yard line about five minutes into the third quarter. An offside penalty spotted FSU 5 yards out, and backup quarterback Tate Rodemaker took care of the rest and more with a 10-yard run to pick up the first down. On the next play after a timeout, Seminoles running back Lawrance Toafili floated into the end zone for a 15-yard touchdown, tying the game at 21.
Penalties are not exclusive to offense and defense. Special teams have added to the question. A punt got the U of L into a second-quarter practice on FSU 33 with less than eight minutes left in the second quarter. A hold call on special teams, however, cost the Cardinals 10 yards.
This time they managed to overcome it. Louisville running back Trevion Cooley hit 1 yard to give the team a 21-14 lead with 5:30 to go before halftime.
Satterfield feels penalties on defense and special teams are a bit more understandable due to the physical nature of the game, but also agrees the Cardinals need to do better. Those who come on the attack, however, are not so forgivable. Of the Cardinals’ 30 penalties, 10 were false starts.
“We control when we slap the ball, so we have to know when to jump or not to jump,” Satterfield said. “It’s the pre-snap penalties that really bother me more than anything. Post-snap penalties, when you play hard, you’re going to get penalties. There is no passing team that does not get penalties. It’s the pre-snap penalties that really affect you. Offsides, false starts, that sort of thing, we have to improve. »
One of Louisville’s second-quarter series featured three false start penalties. The practice ended with a fumble by running back Jawhar Jordan, who started in place of Tiyon Evans. The Cardinals defense, however, prevented the Seminoles from taking advantage of the opportunity when linebacker Yasir Abdullah caught one of Rodemaker’s passes.
A quarter later, with the score tied at 21, U of L looked set to go fourth-and-1 at FSU 46. A false start penalty essentially killed the opportunity as the Cardinals were now fourth-and-6 from their side of the field.
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Louisville offensive coordinator Lance Taylor attributed the slew of penalties to a lack of discipline and focus, which the team will work to improve.
“We talked about it as staff. We talked to the offensive unit about it and really pointed out the times and areas where we need to be locked in,” he said. “They show up in critical areas and at critical times, in the red zone and on third downs. These are things you can’t have and so put that on me and our staff, we need to do a better job of continuing to prepare these guys and really showing them that these penalties are costing you yards. They cost you points and they cost you games.
Contact Louisville football, women’s basketball and baseball beats author Alexis Cubit at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @Alexis_Cubit.